Medageth are recognised as one of the ‘Big Four’ thrash metal bands, which includes Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax. Whilst in rehab in January 2002, Dave Mustaine fell asleep with his left arm over the back of a chair, caused compression of the radial ulnar nerve. This resulted in him being unable to grasp anything with his left hand and he disbanded Megadeth. The band reformed in 2004, but there had been an acrimonious split with long-time bassist, Dave Ellefson, and he did not play on ‘The System Has Failed’ (2004), ‘United Abominations’ (2007) and ‘Endgame’ (2009).
Mustaine and Ellefson both became committed Christians and finally managed to leave their issues in the past and resume their friendship. The line-up became Dave Mustaine (lead vocals & guitar), Dave Ellefson (bass & backing vocals), Chris Broderick (guitar & backing vocals) and Shawn Drover (drums) for the release of ‘Th1rt3en’ (2011). Mustaine stated “I started playing guitar at 13 and this is our 13th record and I was born on the 13th. As soon as I said I was going to call it ‘Thirteen’, I started noticing 13 everywhere. They never used to have 13th floors in hotels but now they have them again.” The album was produced by “Johnny K” Karkazis (Disturbed, Sevendust, Soil).
Whilst some critics would like to reflect on past glories, it is time to move on. Let’s face it, if any band keeps churning out the same stuff it just becomes monotonous. The album could be seen as a return to form and includes new tracks and updated versions of old demos. ‘Sudden Death’ harks back to technical trash riffage and can also be found on the 2010 Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock game. My personal favourite is ‘Public Enemy No. 1’ (about 1920’s gangster Al Capone) with its galloping pace and snarling chorus “Roses on your grave / I’ll be on my way / There’s no time to stay / With the enemies I’ve made”.
‘Whose Life’ hits out at people who disapprove of your lifestyle and choices. It is too easy to point the finger at someone else’s problems rather than facing up to your own. Then ‘We The People’ takes a look at leadership and whether politicians can be trusted. This can also be heard in the re-recorded version of ‘New World Order’ (originally written in 1991 and appearing on the Duke Nukem soundtrack in 1999). And ‘Millennium of the Blind’ continues this with “Trust your leaders as they send you out to die / the true face of evil can’t be seen without eyes”.
‘Black Swan’ features cascading guitar and searing lyrics “Just like a churchyard shadow creeping after me / its only there to terrify my mind / a black swan keeps haunting me”. The feeling of creeping horror can also be found in ‘Deadly Nightshade’. For those of you who want the thrashier songs then check out ‘Never Dead’ and ‘Fast Lane’.
Reviewed by Peter John Willoughby
01 Sudden Death
02 Public Enemy No. 1
03 Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)
04 We the People
05 Guns, Drugs, & Money
06 Never Dead
07 New World Order
08 Fast Lane
09 Black Swan
11 Millennium of the Blind
12 Deadly Nightshade
Dave Mustaine (1983–2002, 2004–present)
Dave Ellefson (1983–2002, 2010–present)
Chris Broderick (2008–present)
Shawn Drover (2004–present)
Killing Is My Business… and Business Is Good! (1985)
Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying? (1986)
So Far, So Good… So What! (1988)
Rust in Peace (1990)
Countdown to Extinction (1992)
Cryptic Writings (1997)
The World Needs a Hero (2001)
The System Has Failed (2004)
United Abominations (2007)
Record Label: Roadrunner Records, 2011